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Adult BMI as a Health and Nutritional Inequality Measure: Applications at Macro and Micro Levels

  • Molini, Vasco
  • Nubé, Maarten
  • van den Boom, Bart

Summary We explore the suitability of the adult Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure health and nutritional inequalities between and within households. The paper applies a macro analysis comparing female BMIs at the country level and a micro-analysis comparing females' and males' BMI in Vietnam. At macro level, we estimated an analogue of the Kuznets curve finding a U-shaped relation between development (Human Development Index) and health and nutritional inequality (female BMI). At micro level, we use the panel data characteristics of the Vietnam dataset and show how income improvements registered in the 1990s benefited males considerably more than females.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1012-1023

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:7:p:1012-1023
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  2. Molini, Vasco & Nube, Maarten, 2007. "Is the Nutritional Status of Males and Females Equally Affected by Economic Growth? Evidence from Vietnam in the 1990s," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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  9. Angus Deaton, 2006. "Global Patterns of Income and Health: Facts, Interpretations, and Policies," NBER Working Papers 12735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. John Creedy & Catherine Sleeman, 2005. "Adult Equivalence Scales, Inequality and Poverty," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 938, The University of Melbourne.
  13. Osmani, Siddiq & Sen, Amartya, 2003. "The hidden penalties of gender inequality: fetal origins of ill-health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 105-121, January.
  14. Garrett, James L. & Ruel, Marie T., 1999. "Are Determinants of Rural and Urban Food Security and Nutritional Status Different? Some Insights from Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1955-1975, November.
  15. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "The Kuznets process and the inequality--development relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 25-52, February.
  16. Micklewright, John & Ismail, Suraiya, 2001. "What Can Child Anthropometry Reveal about Living Standards and Public Policy? An Illustration from Central Asia," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 65-80, March.
  17. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi & Bouis, Howarth, 1995. "Intrahousehold Inequality at Different Welfare Levels: Energy Intake and Energy Expenditure Data from the Philippines," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(3), pages 389-409, August.
  18. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Height, Health, and Inequality: The Distribution of Adult Heights in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 468-74, May.
  19. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Menchini, Leonardo, 2006. "Health Improvements and Health Inequality during the Last 40 Years," Working Paper Series RP2006/10, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  20. Nube, M., 2001. "Confronting Dietary Energy Supply with Anthropometry in the Assessment of Undernutrition Prevalence at the Level of Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1275-1289, July.
  21. Pradhan, Menno & Sahn, David E. & Younger, Stephen D., 2003. "Decomposing world health inequality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 271-293, March.
  22. Howard White, 2005. "Child Poverty in Vietnam: Using Adult Equivalence Scales to Estimate Income-Poverty for Different Age Groups," Development and Comp Systems 0504016, EconWPA.
  23. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
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  25. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2009. "Measuring intra‐household health inequality: explorations using the body mass index," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages S13-S36, April.
  26. Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
  27. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
  28. Erreygers, Guido, 2009. "Correcting the Concentration Index: A reply to Wagstaff," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 521-524, March.
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